When someone dies because of the wrongdoing or negligence of another person, the family of the deceased deserves the opportunity to hold the at-fault party liable for damages. Although no amount of money could make up for the tragic loss of a loved one, compensation could ease the stress of making up for the financial contributions of the deceased and other death related costs such as funeral and medical expenses.
To find out more about filing an untimely death claim, reach out to a compassionate attorney today. A Somerville wrongful death lawyer could inform your family of their legal options and what steps you should take. To get started, schedule a consultation today.
Individuals Who May File a Wrongful Death Claim
The state’s wrongful death statute, which appears in Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 229, §2, specifies that claims should be brought by the administrator or executor of the deceased person. In most cases, that will be the person named in a will or appointed by the court to manage the final affairs of the deceased person, which includes paying bills, taking inventory of assets, and distributing property in accordance with the terms of the will or the laws of intestate succession.
A wrongful death claim is a civil lawsuit separate from any criminal charges that may be associated with the death. A Somerville wrongful death lawyer could monitor criminal proceedings to see if information or evidence could be used to support the claim in civil court. If the court finds in favor of the executor’s claim, money received would go to the estate and eventually be distributed to beneficiaries.
Time Limit for Filing a Wrongful Death Claim
The wrongful death statute requires lawsuits to be filed within three years of the date of death in many cases. However, if the wrongful nature of the death was not quickly apparent, the administrator or executor of the estate has three years from the time when they “knew, or in the exercise of reasonable diligence, should have known of the factual basis for a cause of action.” An experienced Somerville wrongful death lawyer could work to ascertain the deadline in a particular case. If the responsible party claims the deadline has passed, an attorney could present arguments to show the reason for the delay in realizing the existence of a cause of action.
Wrongful Death Under the Statute
Many people in Somerville are not certain when a death can be considered wrongful. The wrongful death statute explains that a claim arises when someone:
- Causes a death by their negligence
- Causes a death by a willful, wanton, or reckless act that could have given the person right to file a personal injury claim if death had not resulted
- Causes a death in either of those circumstances while operating a common carrier
- Is responsible for a breach of warranty that causes injuries leading to death
In many cases, a wrongful death case involves allegations of negligent conduct. A person may be considered negligent when they owe a duty to another, they breach that duty, and the other person suffers harm as a result. For instance, a driver owes a duty to others on the road to follow speed limits. If a driver speeds and causes an accident, that driver may be considered negligent. A Somerville wrongful death lawyer could collect evidence to prove that the negligence of another caused a death.
Contact a Somerville Wrongful Death Attorney
A wrongful death claim cannot turn back time and restore a lost loved one. However, a lawsuit could provide compensation to make up for losses such as the income the deceased person would have provided and the value of the companionship, comfort, counsel, and other factors lost due to the untimely death. Damages could also cover funeral expenses.
It is best not to wait too long before investigating the cause of a wrongful death, because evidence can be more difficult to locate as time passes. To learn more about how a Somerville wrongful death lawyer could help in your situation, call now for a free consultation.